Fury (1936)

90 or 94 mins | Drama | 5 June 1936

Director:

Fritz Lang

Cinematographer:

Joseph Ruttenberg

Production Designer:

Cedric Gibbons

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Corp.
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HISTORY

Working titles of the film included Mob Rule and The Mob . A MPH news item on 16 Jul 1932 noted that M-G-M had recently purchased an original short story from Edmund Goulding entitled "Fury," however, that story is unrelated to this film. According to a news item in HR on 19 Mar 1936, George Walcott replaced Eric Linden in the role of "Tom Wilson" when Linden became ill. According to information contained in the Fritz Lang collection at the AFI Library, a letter of congratulations was sent to Lang by NAACP secretary Walter White after he viewed the film. The letter stated, in part, "More than I have ever seen it before has the medium of the motion picture been used to bring home to America what mob violence means." This was Joseph L. Mankiewicz' first film for M-G-M as a producer, and was also German-born director Fritz Lang's first American film. According to additional information in the Lang papers, he had signed with M-G-M in the autumn of 1934. A press release for Fury issued by Howard Strickling, director of publicity for M-G-M, noted that during the year before Lang started working on Fury , he had been in the United States "studying the minute details that comprise the lives of Average Americans."
       This was actress Sylvia Sidney's only film for M-G-M, and according to the Lang papers, the director stipulated that she be cast in the part before he signed his contract with the studio. Additional information in the Lang papers indicate that Walter Brennan, who portrayed "Bugs" Meyers in the film, ... More Less

Working titles of the film included Mob Rule and The Mob . A MPH news item on 16 Jul 1932 noted that M-G-M had recently purchased an original short story from Edmund Goulding entitled "Fury," however, that story is unrelated to this film. According to a news item in HR on 19 Mar 1936, George Walcott replaced Eric Linden in the role of "Tom Wilson" when Linden became ill. According to information contained in the Fritz Lang collection at the AFI Library, a letter of congratulations was sent to Lang by NAACP secretary Walter White after he viewed the film. The letter stated, in part, "More than I have ever seen it before has the medium of the motion picture been used to bring home to America what mob violence means." This was Joseph L. Mankiewicz' first film for M-G-M as a producer, and was also German-born director Fritz Lang's first American film. According to additional information in the Lang papers, he had signed with M-G-M in the autumn of 1934. A press release for Fury issued by Howard Strickling, director of publicity for M-G-M, noted that during the year before Lang started working on Fury , he had been in the United States "studying the minute details that comprise the lives of Average Americans."
       This was actress Sylvia Sidney's only film for M-G-M, and according to the Lang papers, the director stipulated that she be cast in the part before he signed his contract with the studio. Additional information in the Lang papers indicate that Walter Brennan, who portrayed "Bugs" Meyers in the film, had an extended illness that necessitated a transference of some of his "courtroom business" to George Chandler, who portrayed Milton Johnson. According to modern sources, Lang was the first filmmaker to use newsreel footage as a courtroom device in a motion picture, and may have done so before it was used in an actual court case. Norman Krasna's original story was nominated for the Academy Award, but lost to Pierre Collings and Sheridan Gibney for Warner Bros.'s The Story of Louis Pasteur . Although Spencer Tracy had made a number of films at M-G-M and elsewhere since his motion picture debut in 1930, Fury , along with two films released later in 1936, Libeled Lady and San Francisco (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor) marked a turning point in his career.
       According to information in the Lang papers and an interview with Lang reprinted in a modern source, Lang did not like the ending of the film. At the end of the picture, after the character "Joe Wilson" eloquently tells the judge that his views on his country and the goodness of man have been shattered, he embraces, then kisses "Katherine." Lang said in the modern interview that M-G-M studio executives requested that the kiss be added to the film after the scene had been shot with Lang's preferred ending, following the the speech. A review of Lang's next film, You Only Live Once (see below), that appeared in the New York Daily Mirror and was reprinted in part in HR , notes that that film was made "without the compromise which mitigated the punch in Fury ." The review was apparently referring to the "tacked on" kiss that implies a "happy" ending for characters "Joe" and "Katherine." More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
19 May 36
p. 3.
Film Daily
22 May 36
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Feb 36
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Feb 36
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Mar 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 36
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Feb 37
pp. 5-12
Motion Picture Daily
20 May 36
p. 4.
Motion Picture Herald
16 Jul 32
p. 48.
Motion Picture Herald
9 May 36
p. 38.
Motion Picture Herald
30 May 36
p. 37.
New York Times
6 Jun 36
p. 21.
Variety
10 Jun 36
p. 18.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Edward Le Saint
Edwin J. Brady
Dutch "O. G." Hendrian
Bud Flanagan
Robert E. Homans
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir assoc
Art dir assoc
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
COSTUMES
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec dir
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit mgr
STAND INS
Stand-in for Spencer Tracy
Stand-in for Sylvia Sidney
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Mob Rule
The Mob
Release Date:
5 June 1936
Production Date:
20 February--25 April 1936
Copyright Claimant:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Corp.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1936
Copyright Number:
LP6390
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
90 or 94
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
PCA No:
2229
SYNOPSIS

When Katherine Grant leaves her fiancé, Joe Wilson, in Chicago for a better paying job out West, their sadness is softened by the fact that the extra money will enable them to marry sooner. After a year, Joe and his brothers, Charlie and Tom, have opened a gas station and he writes to her that they can now marry. As Joe drives to meet her, he is stopped near the town of Strand by deputy sheriff "Bugs" Meyers, and arrested for kidnapping a local child, based on circumstantial evidence. Because he does not want to implicate Katherine, he doesn't call her, thinking that levelheaded Sheriff Hummel's investigation will soon clear him. Town gossips soon learn about Joe, however, and, inflamed by ne'er-do-well Kirby Dawson, they storm the jail. The sheriff tries to fight them off, but the national guard troops which he requested never come. When Katherine learns that Joe is being held, she goes to Strand, but arrives just as the mob has set fire to the jail, and faints after seeing Joe in the flames. Soon after, the real kidnappers are arrested and the nation is shocked by the lynching. The despondent Charlie and Tom are then visited by Joe who is still alive, having escaped from the fire. He is a changed man, though, and wants revenge. In hiding, he arranges for the brothers to convince district attorney Adams to try those responsible for murder. Newsreel film clearly identifies the members of the mob, and most are convicted, based on that evidence and Katherine's testimony. As the verdicts are read, however, Joe appears in court, convinced by ... +


When Katherine Grant leaves her fiancé, Joe Wilson, in Chicago for a better paying job out West, their sadness is softened by the fact that the extra money will enable them to marry sooner. After a year, Joe and his brothers, Charlie and Tom, have opened a gas station and he writes to her that they can now marry. As Joe drives to meet her, he is stopped near the town of Strand by deputy sheriff "Bugs" Meyers, and arrested for kidnapping a local child, based on circumstantial evidence. Because he does not want to implicate Katherine, he doesn't call her, thinking that levelheaded Sheriff Hummel's investigation will soon clear him. Town gossips soon learn about Joe, however, and, inflamed by ne'er-do-well Kirby Dawson, they storm the jail. The sheriff tries to fight them off, but the national guard troops which he requested never come. When Katherine learns that Joe is being held, she goes to Strand, but arrives just as the mob has set fire to the jail, and faints after seeing Joe in the flames. Soon after, the real kidnappers are arrested and the nation is shocked by the lynching. The despondent Charlie and Tom are then visited by Joe who is still alive, having escaped from the fire. He is a changed man, though, and wants revenge. In hiding, he arranges for the brothers to convince district attorney Adams to try those responsible for murder. Newsreel film clearly identifies the members of the mob, and most are convicted, based on that evidence and Katherine's testimony. As the verdicts are read, however, Joe appears in court, convinced by Katherine, who had discovered that he was alive and helped him to realize that revenge was making him no better than the mob. He tells the judge that his beliefs in his country and the goodness of man have been shattered, but embraces Katherine after saying that perhaps after he pays for what he has done, they can start over. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.